“When a Christian shuns fellowship with other Christians, the devil smiles. When he stops studying the Bible, the devil laughs. When he stops praying, the devil shouts for joy”, wrote Corrie Ten Boom. The western world has come too individualistic and that ideology has overtaken some Christians, too. Let’s see what advice the saints in this chain of Christians have for us.
“Satan always hates Christian fellowship; it is his policy to keep Christians apart. Anything which can divide saints from one another he delights in. He attaches far more importance to godly intercourse than we do. Since union is strength, he does his best to promote separation”, acknowledged Charles Spurgeon. So true! But there is no one-child families of God. There is no grandchildren of God. We are all one family under one God.
Still “some Christians try to go to heaven alone, in solitude. But believers are not compared to bears or lions or other animals that wander alone. Those who belong to Christ are sheep in this respect, that they love to get together. Sheep go in flocks, and so do God’s people”, noted Charles Spurgeon.
The need and importance of fellowship is real. Neil T. Anderson points out “Aloneness can lead to loneliness. God’s preventative for loneliness is intimacy – meaningful, open, sharing relationships with one another. In Christ we have the capacity for the fulfilling sense of belonging which comes from intimate fellowship with God and with other believers.”
But fellowship is not always easy. John Piper encourages “If you are afraid of hospitality – that you don’t have much personal strength or personal wealth – good. Then you won’t intimidate anybody. You will depend all the more on God’s grace. You will look all the more to the work of Christ and not your own work. And what a blessing people will get in your simple home or little apartment.”
Jerry Bridges writes “There are many elements that go into the total concept of fellowship, as it is described in the New Testament, but the sharing together in suffering is one of the most profitable. It probably unites our hearts together in Christ more than any other aspect of fellowship.”
“It goes against the grain to give an image of oneself that is anything less than perfect, and many Christians imagine that they will be rejected by others if they admit to any faults. But nothing could be more destructive to Christian koinonia (fellowship) than the common practice today of pretending not to have any problems.“, says Ray C. Stedman.
Maybe the most precious advice we get from Dietrich Bonhoeffer:”The first service one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love of God begins in listening to His Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them. It is God’s love for us that He not only gives us His Word but lends us His ear.So it is His work that we do for our brother when we learn to listen to him.”
Bonhoeffer states “In a Christian community, everything depends upon whether each individual is an indispensable link in a chain. Only when even the smallest link is securely interlocked is the chain unbreakable. Every Christian community must realize that not only do the weak need the strong, but also that the strong cannot exist without the weak. The elimination of the weak is the death of the fellowship.” Once again Christians have it backwords: the weakest link is kept in the fellowship, cherished and loved as he/she is.
There really is room for everyone in the fellowship of Christians.
Come as you are!
You are a child of God and hence valuable, lovable, and precious.
Come as you are!
Come, let us worship the Lord together!
Come, let us pray with Peter Marshall:
I need Thee, O Lord,
for a curb on my tongue;
when I am tempted to making
carping criticisms and cruel judgements,
keep me from speaking barbed words that hurt,
and in which I find perverted satisfaction.
Keep me from unkind words
and from unkind silences.
Restrain my judgements.
Make my criticisms kind, generous,
Make me sweet inside,
that I may be gentle with other people,
gentle in the things I say,
kind in what I do.
Create in me that warmth of mercy
that shall enable others
to find Thy strength for their weakness,
Thy peace for their strife,
Thy joy for their sorrow,
Thy love for their hatred,
Thy compassion for their weakness.
In thine own strong name,
Q4U: What do you think? Do we need each other? Why?
Be blessed, fellow pilgrim, as you continue your pilgrimage. Reach out for others!
This post is part of One Word at a Time: Fellowship Blog Carnival. Head over to read other posts on fellowship! Blessings!